Senate Unanimously Passed Legislation to Help Schools, Other Meal Program Operators Continue Expanded Programs to Keep Kids Fed
Washington, D.C. – Last night, the Senate passed the Keep Kids Fed Act to extend school and summer meal programs for kids. Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the following statement:
“School and summer meals programs are absolutely essential to make sure our kids receive healthy food,” said Bennet. “As costs continue to rise, I'm pleased that the Senate voted unanimously to extend expanded nutrition programs and increase access to nutritious food for our kids. No kid should go hungry, especially in the wealthiest country in the world.”
Expanded child nutrition programs are set to expire on June 30, 2022. This legislation now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Specifically, the Keep Kids Fed Act will:
Extend flexibilities for summer meals in 2022 by waiving area eligibility so summer providers can serve all children for free and continuing options like meal delivery and grab-and-go.
Eliminate the reduced-price meal category, allowing all students with a family income of up to 185 percent of the poverty level to qualify for free meals for the 2022-2023 school year.
Increase the reimbursement rate for school lunch and school breakfast to help offset the increased cost of food and operating expenses. Schools will receive an additional 40 cents for each lunch and 15 cents for each breakfast served.
Provide an additional 10 cents per meal or snack for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) daycares, home providers, and more providers to help offset increased costs for providers.
Direct the Secretary to ensure that states and school food authorities have the technical assistance necessary to transition back to normal meal operations after the waivers have expired.
Last week, Bennet joined his colleagues in a push to extend child nutrition waivers and enact a robust set of child nutrition priorities. In April, Bennet and his colleagues introduced legislation to continue school meal flexibilities and help schools transition back to normal meal operations. In March, Bennet sent a letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urging the leaders to extend U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) support for schools to continue expanded meal programs through the Fiscal Year 2022 spending package.